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Internet companies violating net neutrality

If you’ve been following the IT news lately, you should be aware of all the shitstorm that happened around Daily Stormer (DS). Long story short, their registrar GoDaddy kicked them out, and a chain reaction followed where many registrars and hosts kicked them out too. Sure they publish “weird” and mean contents, to say the least, but these are still legal contents. So, the companies who kicked them out chose to do so by their own initiative to censor the web. While on the other hand, they’ve regularly resisted to suspend law-braking contents such as piracy stuff.

Ironically, most of those companies pretend to be fighting for “net neutrality”, aka the concept that Internet Service Providers should be forced to carry traffic from all services equally, without any filtering. So what they’re saying is “do as we say, not as we do”. I understand private companies have a right to hand-pick their customers. It really doesn’t feel “right”, though, when said companies either enjoy a quasi-monopoly, or when said companies act all together as one. Also, I don’t see how it makes sense to force ISPs not to discriminate but to let other internet companies do so.

Anyhow, here is the list, that I’ll try to update as I find new ones, of companies who kicked customers based on internal censorship criteria that go farther than legal requirements:

  • GoDaddy: kicked DS domain name (source). Claim to be for net neutrality
  • Google: held DS domain name hostage (source). Claim to be for net neutrality. They also pulled Gab (a Twitter-like where free speech is real, be it left or right) out of the Play Store. Update (2017-09-01): Of course, by now it should be no secret that Google are cyberbullies.
  • Apple: also refused Gab on the App Store, and worse they allow a fake app to use its name. Update (2017-08-31): claim to be for net neutrality. Update 2018-09-08: blocked Infowars app too)
  • OVH: kicked the DS domain name and hosting (source, in French). I don’t think they’ve ever been very vocal about net neutrality, although they once complained that ISPs wanted to charge them for some of the huge bandwidth they use
  • Facebook: closed Andrew Auernheimer’s account (one of DS’s staff, who didn’t post controversial stuff on his FB personal account) (source). Claim to be for net neutrality
  • Namecheap: kicked DS domain name (source). Claim to be for net neutrality so much that they dedicated a whole domain name for that propaganda
  • Twitter but that’s no secret they’re a censorship/PC heaven
  • CloudFlare: stood for free speech for a few days but eventually kicked DS too while having the nerve to explain why their own decision was badClaim to be for net neutrality
  • OpenDNS/Cisco Umbrella: are blocking DS domain name.
    This one is really special: other companies were companies that refused DS as a customer (breaking their contracts with unacceptably short notices, though). While in my opinion this is some worrisome censorship (because 1. it’s not easy to find alternatives that will accept DS and 2. it paves the way to legitimate a lot more censorship: if those companies start cherry-picking contents, they are effectively making themselves responsible for all the contents they do accept), I guess that in a way it is fair game. OpenDNS’s case is different: DS was never their customer. Their customers are just internet users, like you and me, who chose to ditch their ISP’s DNS servers in order to bypass whatever censorship their ISP/government might try to enforce on them. They don’t expect OpenDNS DNS servers to perform their own censorship too. OpenDNS acts pretty much like a “partial ISP” (the part that resolves DNS), but a particularly non-neutral one as I don’t know of any ISP that censors domain names without a proper government request to do so.
    And there is more: they were actually a victim of the lack of net neutrality a while back. Apparently they don’t mind doing to others what they suffered from in the past.
    Update (2017-08-30): OpenDNS now seems to resolve DS domain name properly. No idea if the temporary blackout was intended or not…
  • Network Solutions, LLC: held Stormfront’s domain name hostage (source). I didn’t find anything about their stance on net neutrality, they seem to be a pretty small company so I assume they didn’t make a lot of noise on the subject.
  • Protonmail: deactivated the e-mail account of Lee Rogers (DS staff member) (source). They too have very vigorously campaigned for net neutrality.

And a few ones who really can’t be qualified as posing an issue of net neutrality, but are still an illustration of the political correctness censorship in large/dominant tech companies:

Update (2017-09-05 and later): some more, with fewer details because the list is really getting too long:

Update (2019-05-10):

  1. Mozilla is following Google and Apple’s path, by policing their add-ons distribution site. You know,, the now-mandatory place to go if you want to install add-ons for Firefox, because of the mandatory add-on signature checking that can’t be disabled (unless you switch to a less stable Fx version). Well, they removed the Dissenter add-on from it, and discussions about it are promptly locked, too.
  2. I’m actually guilty of not following the news regularly enough, here’s also an updated list of all the services that banned Gab/Dissenter (as of 2019-05-05)

Okay, there is just a problem with this post: I was only able to find censorship targeting the right. I wish I could find some targeting the left, in order to show that I don’t care which side of the political spectrum is targeted but I only care about the web having a censorship problem, but I just couldn’t find any… If you do have some of such examples, which do not involve obviously illegal stuff, please do let me know in the comments.

Posted in web filtering.

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